Consumers are going to find it easier to shop using mobile apps if Gartner Inc. is right. The research company released a new report that said 33 percent of consumer-branded apps will integrate payment functionality by 2015.

According to Gartner research director Sandy Shen, that's a change from the way apps have been treated in the past, when they were used primarily as marketing tools rather than sales tools.

"Many consumer brands have launched branded apps that focus on marketing activities such as offering product information, checking loyalty points, and collecting coupons and offers. A few early adopters have integrated payment functions into their apps," Shen said. "Brands need to help consumers make purchasing decisions in an efficient and personalized way. Branded apps should be good shopping apps in the first place, and payment is only the final step before making the sale."

To turn mobile apps into sales tools, Shen said brands will use a combination of mobile apps, text messages and web browsers to engage customers and increase sales.

The development of mobile as a sales channel won't happen in a uniform manner, Shen said. Developed markets will see apps lead the way, but emerging markets will see text messages dominate, she said.

In the report, "Predicts 2013: Businesses Will Take Consumer Apps to the Next Level," Gartner made additional prognostications for the future of the mobile economy, which it expects to see by 2016:

  • More than half of consumers will store digital content primarily in the cloud;
  • Developing markets will see most pay-TV operators launch "pay-TV as an app" on smart TVs;
  • Wearable smart electronics will become a $10 billion industry.

For more stories like this, see the trends/statistics research center.

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Eileen Kleinman
    41400339
    This is very interesting, thank you.

    Would like to know more about wearable smart electronics, please.
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